Do the FPC and FSMA have effective plans in place to prevent potential cross-border food hazards?
“The most sweeping reform of U.S. food safety laws in more than 70 years.” implemented on Jan 4, 2011, was the result of a development program launched by the FDA under the Food Safety and Modernization Act (FSMA).
Recognizing the need for information regarding new regulatory requirements, the Food Processors of Canada (FPC) held an information session for its members on the impacts of the Preventive Control Rule. The well attended session of 50 participants represented a wide variety of Canadian food manufacturers.
Dr. David Acheson (former assistant commissioner for Food at the USFDA), and Cameron Prince (former vice-president of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency) of The Acheson Group, were invited by the FPC to provide background on FSMA.
The purpose was to highlight the main impacts of the Preventive Control Rule on Canadian food producers exporting to the U.S.
Some key points that came out of the session:
FSMA focuses on preventing, rather than being reactionary, to issues that can cause food-borne illness. The safety schedules apply to firms that manufacture, process, pack or hold food for humans.
These businesses are required to have written plans that identify hazards, specify the steps they’ve put in place to prevent or minimize or those hazards. In addition, they must clearly identify monitoring procedures and record monitoring results, plus specify actions to be taken to correct problems that arise.
When compared to similar HACCP and GFSI programs, there are differences in the new FSMA Preventive Controls Rule that will require companies to re-evaluate and adjust their programs.
With the Preventive Control approach, hazards related to the process, and to plant operation, are controlled under a prerequisite program that now requires the same level of diligence in:
- Record keeping
- Corrective actions as a CCP under HACCP
The Preventive Control approach is portrayed as “HACCP+” in which Prerequisite Programs are identified as Preventive Controls requiring the same level of control as a CCP such as:
- Cleaning and Sanitation
- Allergen Control
Products That Are “Ready-to-Eat”
Processors of Ready-to-Eat (RTE) products exporting to the U.S. may are required to implement an environmental pathogen monitoring program.
If the RTE product is open to the environment after processing and before packaging, and a kill step does not follow the packaging step, an environmental pathogen monitoring program is required.
Foreign Suppliers Verification
U.S. importers must also comply with the Foreign Suppliers Verification Rule, which means U.S. importers need to verify that Canadian Suppliers are in compliance with all U.S. Rules for FDA commodities. The verification could include an audit by the U.S. importer or a third party representing the U.S. importer.
A qualified individual is required to develop, implement, and monitor the Preventive Controls Program by the Preventative Control Rule.
This individual is known as a Preventive Controls Qualified Individual (PCQI). Although experienced food safety managers can qualify for this position, it is strongly recommended that companies have a certified PCQI on staff.
In most cases this means a QA manager will be required to take a two-and-a-half day certified training program.
No More Tom Tom, and This Is Just the Beginning
In an era where business and logistics have become global, satellite tracking has become a conventional means of pinpointing a person or object’s location anywhere in the world.
This tool for monitoring has changed logistics tremendously since its inception back in the 50s. Satellite tracking technology uses the Global Positioning System (GPS).
The GPS measures the distance between your location and the satellites that orbit the earth.
How Does Satellite Tracking Work?
The GPS is a worldwide radio-navigation device that is formed from a constellation of 24 satellites and their stations on the ground. The system works to find out exactly where an object is located.
The tracking system may be connected to items for this use, such as a vehicle or cell phone. The satellites will work to distinguish where it is located at all times. The device has a function of tracking the movement of the object across a geographical region. This form of satellite tracking has proved useful and changed logistics in several ways.
Real-time Satellite Vehicle Tracking
Satellite tracking has improved logistics by ensuring real-time monitoring of vehicles. Some of the tracking firms, such as Linxup have tracking equipment for vehicles that enable you to locate your car easily and quickly.
You can do so while it’s in motion or on-site. Here is how this happens:
- Vehicle satellite tracking systems offer updates once a minute when they are moving and each hour when turned off.
- Equipment, on the other hand, offers updates once each day when on battery and at an interval of 10 minutes when powered and in motion.
- A Google Maps interface that is intuitive distinguishes which objects are vehicles and which are equipment when at work.
- The system also offers updates on the fleet movement as it would with normal traffic conditions.
- Finally, the system gives you access to a bird’s eye view of every vehicle you have on the road and their logistics details.
Conventional satellite tracking systems have these functionalities and even more depending on their in-built conditions which influence logistics. This real-time GPS tracking allows you, at a glance, to identify:
- The direction as well as the speed the vehicle is traveling
- The interval between the GPS reports
- The current address of the equipment or car on the move
- The driver nearest to the location
What is the Difference Between GPS and Satellite Tracking?
In GPS Tracking, a GPS device receives and later transfers signals that it receives from the satellites around the region. With satellite tracking, the satellite tracker makes use of the signals that emanate from a GPS device.
The satellite software then uses these signals and combines them with a complete map to get the exact coordinates of an object.
GPS tracking systems have a variety of components that use the Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) network.
The network includes a variety of satellite trackers that send microwave signals back to the GPS device and give real-time locations, speed of the vehicle, and direction as well as the time that this data was captured.
Validating the Satellite Tracking Argument
Ultimately, GPS tracking through various satellites can provide both real-time and historical data to improve inventory management and delivery. These innovations in satellite tracking have enormously influenced logistics.
HACCP stands for hazard analysis critical control point and is a management system that ensures food safety by analyzing and controlling biological, chemical, and physical hazards throughout the entire supply chain of a finished product.
What is HACCP Certified?
HACCP certification is an international standard that describes the requirements for ensuring control of food safety. Seven actions constitute this standard:
- Conducting a hazard analysis of biological, chemical, or physical food hazards
- Determining critical control points
- Establishing critical control limits
- Monitoring control of critical control points
- Establishing remedying actions
- Formulating and implementing procedures to verify that the HACCP system is functioning correctly
- Record keeping
A food business can gain a HACCP certification by a reputable certification provider by undergoing an audit or assessment of its food safety policies and procedures, including:
- Hygiene and overall cleanliness
- Employed pest control measures
- Safety and cleanliness of the equipment used to prepare or process food
– Safety and cleanliness of product storage
– Maintenance of vehicles
Why is HACCP Important?
A HACCP certification demonstrates to your customers, stakeholders, and regulatory authorities that you are committed to safe food trading or production. HACCP compliance is also mandatory for participants in the food industry in several countries, including the United States.
A HACCP certificate is also essential for a food business to be regarded as reputable and trade worthy. A company that is not HACCP certified runs a higher risk of making costly mistakes while carrying out their business activities.
Who Uses the HACCP?
Businesses don’t always obtain HACCP certificates for the same reasons. It is a condition of trade that business in the food industry, for example, food sellers and food manufacturers have HACCP certifications.
Although a HACCP certification is not a requirement for specific businesses or in some countries, many companies will make sure to have their certifications in place to mitigate risks and as a sound business practice.
What are the Most Common Critical Control Points?
A critical control point (CCP) is defined as a step at which biological, chemical or physical factors can be controlled.
Critical control point examples of food purchasing include checking suppliers, menu creation, and managing packaged and frozen foods.
Delivery and Receipt
This critical control point refers to temperature control, record keeping, and transferring food to storage after delivery.
Food production critical control points concern food handling and preparation. Examples of food production essential points of control include allergen management, cooking, reheating, and thawing.
Service and Display of Food
There should be clean facilities to protect display food. The critical control requirements depend on whether the display is for hot, cold, or frozen food. Serving staff should also be adequately trained and furnished with clean equipment.
Food storage critical control points are of the utmost importance to prevent cross-contamination, bacteria growth, and temperature fluctuations. Brimich Warehousing & Logistics provides storage solutions that are HACCP compliant. Contact us today for more information.
What are SQF Standards?
Safe Quality Food (SQF) is a food safety management certification scheme based on HACCP that demonstrates compliance with all the processes and requirements as defined in the SQF code.
What is the Importance of SQF in the Food Handling Industry?
Ensuring food safety over international supply chains can be incredibly challenging, and organizations in the food industry depend on suppliers to provide them with food products and ingredients that are manufactured, stored, or shipped safely.
Certification programs are widely regarded to be the most effective to ensure that organizations in the food industry have confidence in their suppliers. One of the most accepted food certification programs is SQF, especially since it is a certification that is recognized by the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI.)
What is the Relationship to GFSI?
The Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) is a business-driven global food network that consists of food retailers and manufacturers around the world. The GFSI listed a set of requirements that are crucial to a food safety management system.
Consequently, the GFSI recognizes any food safety stand that includes their set of requirements, including SQF. The result is that if a business is certified to SQF, the GFSI will recognize the certification.
If one of your customers request that you become GFSI certified, an SQF certification will, therefore, be sufficient. Your business can also receive GFSI recognition if you have an FSSC 22000, BRC Issue 7, or International Food Standard Version 6 certification.
What are the Different Levels of SQF?
There are three levels of SQF Certification. The appropriate level for your business depends on the type of food business you have.
SQF Food Safety Fundamentals
This level was formerly known as SQF Level 1 and applies to low-risk products. This level consists of fundamental food safety controls and is not recognized by GFSI.
SQF Food Safety Code
This level is a certified HACCP food safety plan and was formerly known as an SQF Level 2 Certification. Most businesses opt for this level because of its recognition by the GFSI. The SQF Food Safety Code has versions available for:
- Primary food producers
- Food retailers
- Food packaging
- Storage and distribution
SQF Quality Code
SQF Quality Code is the highest SQF level and involves the extensive implementation of safety management systems that include the Food Safety Code.
How Do I Get SQF Certified?
- Download the Code and Guidance documents from www.SQFI.com, and learn what is required for SQF certification.
- Select the appropriate SQF level for your business.
- Register at SQFI and designate your SQF Practitioner.
- Apply the required process and food safety fundamentals and train your in-house audit team.
- Keep records, perform internal audits, review performance, and make improvements where necessary.
- Select a certification body.
- Schedule and undergo your inspections.
Work with an SQF Certified Company
Brimich Warehousing & Logistics’ food grade facilities are HACCP compliant, and SQF certified. Contact us today to discuss your needs.